Bahrain army takes control of capital
Manama, February 18, 2011
Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) has deployed troops in capital Manama to help preserve the security and safety of citizens and residents and protect them and their properties from violence.
In its first statement, a BDF General Command spokesman stressed that 'all necessary deterring measures' will be taken to promote security and stability across the kingdom to safeguard national interests and achievements.
He also called upon citizens and residents 'not to gather in lively areas in the capital so as not to cause traffic congestion, spread panic among passers-by and threaten their lives'.
At least four people died and around 200 were injured when police stormed Pearl Roundabout early morning on Thursday, where thousands of anti-government protesters had set up camp.
The dead were identified as Mahmoud Makki Ali, 22, Ali Mansour Ahmad Khoder, 52, Issa Abdul Hassan, 60, and Hussain Zaid.
They were allegedly sleeping in tents at the site of the protest when they were shot, according to protesters.
But police, who state they gave the demonstrators fair warning to leave before they launched their operation, said only two protesters were dead.
They have also denied using heavy-handed tactics to evict anti-government protesters from Pearl Roundabout.
The Interior Ministry denied claims that demonstrators were peaceful and aired footage on state television showing guns and swords recovered from the scene.
A spokesman said four guns, including a Smith and Wesson, were confiscated along with live ammunition.
The Interior Ministry said 50 policemen were also injured during the chaos, including 27 who are critical and two undergoing urgent surgery.
Eighty-two protesters are being treated at Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC). Many more were injured yesterday morning during clashes between police and demonstrators, causing massive casualties on both sides.